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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

KY parents say reliable, affordable child-care linked to better mental health

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Tuesday, March 26, 2024   

More parents in Kentucky are switching jobs, delaying major purchases, cutting back on essential needs, and going into debt in order to afford child care, according to a new survey from the Kentucky Center on Economic Policy. Parents, especially mothers, in the Commonwealth say the financial stress and uncertainty around of child care is impacting their mental health.

Keshia, a parent in Knox County, said she struggled with postpartum depression, and notes having access to child care, even just a few days a week, allows her time to focus on her well-being.

"I put him in day care twice a day, twice a week. So that gives me time to focus on my work and to focus on my mental health and to be a better mother for him," she explained.

According to a recent survey of more than 1,300 parents in the Commonwealth, they continue to face anxiety and stress over what might happen if they lose care. More than 70% said they won't be able to find alternative care arrangements, or may have to use less safe care for their children. More than half said that if they lost their child care, they would be forced to leave their job to stay home with their kids, or wouldn't be able to provide for their family.

Lisa Leonard is a grandparent in Daviess County who gained custody of her now 17-year-old grandson when he was a toddler. She saidher grandson qualified for a Head Start program, which allowed her to keep working full-time, adding that many kinship caregivers face financial pressures that can contribute to chronic stress and anxiety.

"If it hadn't been for the availability of Head Start, I truly don't know what I could have done. I lived so far out in the county, and didn't know anybody around me," she said.

Most Kentucky parents shell out hundreds of dollars per week for child care, even with assistance, according to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. The state faces a $330 million loss in money for child-care centers when American Rescue Plan Act funding expires this year.


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